In the first halftime, hosts didn’t have a chance. First goal Croatia scored 10 minutes after the match began. Denmark had a strong defence and a fast and efficient attack. Christensen, Lenbroch and Haburo made 4-0 series. The first goal for Croatia scored Karpo Sirotić (4:1). The goal difference could have been bigger if Croatian goalkeeper Stipe Purić wasn’t in a pretty good shape. He had three important saves in the first ten minutes. Although Croatia reduced their deficit (4:2), Denmark soon scored for a three-point lead and because Croatian player Fran Mileta got suspended, they seized the opportunity and scored for a four-point lead. It was minute 20 when Oskar V. Rasmussen scores for their first five-goal lead. At the end of the first half, the result was 14:10 for Denmark.
At the beginning of the second half, Croatia were little more determined. Zvonimir Rudolf Šafranko scored and Croatia were three points behind. But Danmark made new 4-0 series, and Croatia couldn’t keep up. Mads Emil B. Lenbroch scored for first seven-goal advantage and Croatian coach Boris Lisica had to call team timeout. Denmark was keeping them at save five-goal distance until minute 52 when Croatia almost came back. They maid 4:0 series, Martinović scored for 23:21, and there was still hope. A minute before the end they had last chance to turn things around but Svend B. Rughave saved their last shot and the final result was 26:24 for Denmark.
Best player of the national team of Denmark was goalkeeper Svend B. Rughave, and the best player of the national team of Croatia was Patrik Martinović.
Lauritz Reinholdt Leger was the top scorer for Denmark with six scored goals, and Martinović was the best scorer for Croatia with also with six scored goals.
Denmark coach, Ole Damgaard Nielsen: ‘We are so thrilled, this was a tough match, but we were up most of the time and in control. In the end, it got quite narrow. We had the upper hand from the beginning, but when the excitement took over a little bit it got a little close. We were very good with the ball today, made almost no mistakes, so that was perfect. We came to the tournament and didn’t really know what to expect. We played 7 games and won six of them. Our aim all the time has been to win the game number 7, to win the last game and at last to win a medal.’
Denmark player, Svend B. Rughave: ‘We always fight like a team, and we fought all the way through the match. We gave all for each other today against Croatia. We played well today, did well in both attack and defence, and the mix of both made the difference. I’m happy, I think we are all very happy. This is what we came for, we wanted a medal. Now we’re here with a bronze medal, so I’m thrilled.’
Croatia player, Patrik Martinović: ‘We can’t say we played poorly this time. We did a more detailed analysis for this match. An improvement was apparent against the tough Scandinavian 6-0 defence which gives us problems. The match was tough, we didn’t play as a real team in the first half, but were better in the second half. We needed a bit more luck in the end, and the result could have been different. Like they always say, never a loss, but a lesson. We will train harder and try to win something at the World Championship next year.’
Croatia coach, Boris Lisica: ‘It is clear that you cannot learn to play against their system in two days. My boys gave their all in this match, we were among the best teams at the tournament. The Scandinavian gameplan is dominant in this generation, all these teams are terrific, strong and resilient in 6-0 defence. I am very happy with all my players at this championship. Maybe we weren’t strong enough, needed better flow in our game. We had our problems, and need to be realistic to say that we couldn’t have fared with some squads. This is a beautiful result and will try to do better in the future by practicing harder.’
Placement match 3 – 4
Denmark – Croatia 26:24 (14:10)